Category Archives: Love, God

Posts by Amy

Stumble, Don’t Fall

Why is it that when we stumble, we almost inherently fall?  Figuratively speaking, we tend to believe that the little hiccup we experienced along the way is it.  It’s the end all, be all point of no return.  This stumble just caused us to fall, why?  Because we gave up!

Our immediate reaction when we mess up in life is to just throw in the towel.  Rather than picking up the pieces and trying to start again, we beat ourselves up for the mistake, maybe do a little trash-talk in the mirror and just decide that again…this isn’t going to work.

What if I told you that it didn’t have to be that way?  What if I said that your mistakes, whether great or small, have the chance to transform you into a better human being.  That’s right folks, your mistakes, your stumbles along the way might just be the road to recovery for you in many, many ways.

Here me out on this one.  I’m not saying that once you make a mistake you should consider doing it over and over again because if you’ve ever heard the great Stephen Covey, you would know that Doing the same thing over and over again will not bring you different results.  You can, however, rest comfortably knowing that you have a chance to redeem yourself.  Your life, your goals, your challenges are not to be determined by the stumbling you do along the way.  It’s what you do after that counts.

Take eating for example (because this is a struggle many people face daily).  So you’re doing your thing, on your way to losing weight and feeling great, when suddenly you screw up on the plan.  You eat ice cream and since you’ve made that bad choice already, why not add insult to injury and go a step further and just have another snack later on?  Your first thought is how horrible you are.  I mean, it’s only the second day on your so-called “diet” yet you have managed to put yourself further behind than when you started.  The scale went up overnight and you just feel worthless.

Ah…but here’s the cool part.  You have a chance to start over RIGHT NOW!  You don’t have to let that bad decision define you or determine your next move.  What comes of the poor choice from last night?  A brighter start today.  You can feel awakened, refreshed, and ready to start anew.  No, it just doesn’t happen that easily.  First, you have to stop the trash talk.  Then, you have to decide that it’s okay to start over.  And most importantly, you have to realize that you’re worth more than any mistake you have or could have made.  It’s all in your mind.  This game that goes on day in and day out starts right there and it’s only us.  We are our own worst enemy, stripping ourselves down to almost nothing when we should be looking upward.

Romans 8:1 says

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If that is true, than who are you to badmouth yourself?  Maybe it’s time to focus on what’s next and leave the past behind, even if it was just yesterday.  Time to look in the mirror and call yourself blessed, perfectly designed, and ready to take on the challenges you’ll face.  You will not be defined by a choice you’ve made.  You are greater than that because your God is greater, stronger, and able to conquer any demon you may be fighting.  Give it to Him and watch what happens next…

The Constant Battle

I’m talking to you today.  You need to read this.  ~The voice in your head
 
It’s in my head.  This battle is daily, often hourly, and sometimes takes a minute-by-minute approach to combat.  I know I’m not the only one because I hear other women saying the same thing(s) I often think, although I sometimes question the validity of their comments because some people just like to complain.  I’m sure men deal with it too but I’ve never been inside the male brain so I can’t comment on their struggles.  
 
I wonder if those of us who are trying to stay positive are the only ones who recognize that this is even an issue?  
 
You’re probably thinking, get to the point, but right now I’m just trying to set the scene so I know you’re following…
 
You can wake up happy, healthy, and in an overall good mood then you realize something is off-kilter but you can’t explain what.  You instantly realize someone didn’t do something they said they would.  They didn’t act on something you had just spoken about.  You’re making changes and they just seem to stay the same.  Are you the only one who is going to stick to the plan? 
 
If you stop to think about it, most of the time it all boils down to things being done your way in your time.  We want people to act a certain way, feel how we feel, and think like we think. When they don’t do things the way we’d like, we get angry. We assume they know what we’re hoping for or how we feel. We allow our moods to instantaneously change when they haven’t acted on something we talked about less than 24-hours ago.  If they’re not on top of their game with a smile on their face, enjoying every gosh darn minute of the day, we start to think something’s wrong.
 
Am I talking to anyone here?  Okay, then let’s keep going.
 
It’s self-reflective really, this whole battle.  We want people to be the way we aren’t yet capable of being.  We set our expectations for others higher than we’re able to meet ourselves.  We want them to be the way we’re striving to be, yet we aren’t happy with even the slightest effort they make.  
Okay, let’s stop for a second.  Are we really that bad?  No. But I’m speaking truth here.  We want the best for people but we worry too much about who they should be that we lose track of our best self.  
 
We allow our minds to wander about this or that, why isn’t it this way, why aren’t they seeing it this way, or doing it that? We begin to think it’s us but we blame it on them.  But what is their struggle?  What negative things have occurred throughout their day that they just aren’t sharing?  How many times have they had to talk themselves down from the ledge because people are just people and don’t understand they’re just there to do their job?
 
We put our loved ones in a bubble as if they aren’t going to be affected by things of this world — the day to day daunting task of going to work (or school), being around people that drag them down, environments that are less than uplifting — struggling just to keep a smile when everything around is just negative, negative, negative.  We wonder why they act a certain way, forgetting that you can’t just take that stuff off when you pull in the driveway.  The trash talk, the gossip, the momentary lapse in peace we find in our own home that was lost somewhere early on in the day.  It’s hard for any of our loved ones to strip down to the person we know they are and leave that daily baggage at the door.  
 
Instead of thinking the worst, why not assume the best? Why do we have to allow our minds to take captive the person we know we love just to satisfy a thought that we’ve allowed to creep in?  We know their heart.  We know we’re trying so why can’t we believe they are as well? If the struggle is real for us, why can’t it be just as real for them?  
 
I know this is speaking to someone today because it was the first thing I thought of this morning.  These words are for someone who’s been a little too hard on their loved one(s)…someone whose expectations aren’t being met simply because they [themselves] are not there yet.  
 
Try taking it day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute if you need to.  Learn how to give benefit of the doubt.  When those thoughts of the worst try to creep in, fight back with knowing the best.  It’s okay if you’re feeling convicted — it’s only because you care.  Sometimes we need to do a lot more work than we expect because in the end, the example we set and the grace we give is just enough to be the encouragement someone else needs.  
 

To Do List

It’s 3:19pm.  My intention after church was to put on my pjs and sit on the couch with a cup of tea and just let Pinterest have its way with me.  Well, I made it into my pajamas by 11am but the tea didn’t happen until 3:10pm.   And Pinterest, it just may be a thing that doesn’t get checked off my very short “to do” list today.

When I came home, I had to put together fruit salad for the week because, when I do, everyone seems to get their fill of fruit.  I can purchase the same fruit and 50% of it will remain in the fridge at the end of the week, untouched.  However, when I take the time to carefully select the ingredients and mix them with just the right amount of lime juice and honey, the bowl seems to have more appeal.

Then I remembered it was Sunday — and I needed to pack my husband’s lunch for tomorrow.  I also like to make chicken salad and put snacks in baggies for a quick grab throughout the week.  Lunches seem so much better when I take the time to put some things together in advance rather than throwing it together last minute.  I know if he were to pack his own lunch, he wouldn’t choose as healthy or put as much thought into it.

Ah, then there was the laundry.  Our household has managed quite well with each individual handling their own.  It was an unspoken thing that just happened one day.  No complaints here, except when it’s time for me to fold my own.  The daunting task causes me to sigh — every, single time.  But it’s quick and painless.  I washed a load and put 2 away today…yes, one was from a couple days ago that I hid in the closet for just this occasion — the day I was going to “rest”.

The dog threw up this morning so I made him boiled chicken and rice at 4:30am, reheating some about lunchtime to be sure he was getting some food in him.  Now he’s peacefully sleeping on the couch after his hefty helping, always a good company when you need him to be (and even when you don’t).

Had to catch up on the dishes from packing lunches and meal prepping for the week because who wants to start dinner with a full sink of dirty dishes?  Oh yeah…dinner…that’s on the list too.  Have to start that in about an hour…

So much for enjoying my tea while Pinteresting comfortably on the couch…

All these thoughts ran through my head as I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of tea.  Many moons ago, I might have been a little bitter about missing the “me” time and just not having things go as planned.  “To do” lists left undone used to cause me grief.  I would put too much stuff on the piece of paper, many things that a normal person couldn’t accomplish in several days, let alone in the few hours that I allowed myself in an afternoon.

I pondered my list of three things — pjs, tea, Pinterest — and actually felt guilty for even worrying about this incomplete list.  Looking at all I was able to accomplish, things that I need not put on the list, things I do because I’m a wife and a mom, things I do because I want to be an example, because I want to show my family I love them….these things are top priority and sometimes, just need to come before the list of countless other things I want to do for yours truly.

I think about the times I want things my way, which is almost all the time, and realized my way isn’t necessarily the only way.  In many situations, my way only seems like the best way.  Oh how I pray about this often…and I mean OFTEN!


It’s the next morning and I’ve been up since about 5:30a working on some projects for church, youth, and my family.  I had high hopes of working out first thing and finishing this blog in an entirely different way but God had other plans.

I’m sitting here with a cat curled up next to my leg, a dog as close to my armpit as he can be — snoring loudly — and Christian music blaring in my headphones.  The windows are open, although the air just turned on and I don’t care, I’m enjoying the crispness of it and of the candle I lit a couple hours ago.

My coffee went cold but that’s okay because I finished most of it over an hour ago.  My bed is full of highlighters, papers, a devotional, notebook, and a computer, which sits atop by lap.

Now that you have the full picture, you might also need to know that I’m in no way presentable but I’m in every way comfortable.  You see, the way things could have been had I had it my way would  have been much different.  I’ve reached out to God on several occasions for Him to lead my days and very rarely have I actually let Him.

Yesterday after church and this morning, He’s in the lead and I’m quite enjoying it. I’m not overwhelmed.  I haven’t forgotten anything [yet] and I am fully prepared to just roll with whatever comes next.

Does that mean I won’t have a freakout moment if something suddenly tries to take my joy?  Nope.  I just might.  But you know what?  My God is bigger, stronger, and IN CHARGE.  I’ll get through it.

So what are YOU going to do about it?  That thing that has been bugging you? That list that is never-ending?  That LIFE that doesn’t always leave room for the little things you’d like to do but always makes way for the things you need to do.


Let’s pretend you have nothing more than this day.  That a moment in time like this very one is all you’ll have to get you through to the next catastrophe.  You have this minute to summons God, allow Him into your day, breathe deeply, and set the tone for what is to come.

Try it.  Try relying on God through each and every moment of your day.  To do so you may need to get up a little early, adjust the music you’re listening to if it will help your mood, surround yourself with sights and smells that add to it all and just live.  You are in a position to do something right where you are in every single roll you’ve been fortunate to be put into.

How about taking this second to thank God for all those things that pull you away from you and just do YOU!

HAPPY MONDAY!!

One Moment For Another

Do you ever feel like a moment, maybe even this moment, is meant for someone else?  It’s an odd feeling really, like you’re living that very second for another person — be it a tiny human being, a friend, spouse, or even a total stranger.  You may not know at the time or you may never know for certain but something right where you are needs to be shared with someone else…spared for someone else.

Ephesians 3:17-19 says,

I pray that you...grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

What if our offering in such moments was to give unto others, do unto others, be unto others — just as we’d want for ourselves?  You can give a little or you can give a lot, be it your time, money, or most importantly…yourself.

Why not get creative in times that need not be reserved for you and you alone.  Think of a way you can spare that moment so you can share it.

That leaf hanging in mid-air, blowing in the breeze.

That flower with the sun shining so perfectly on its blossom.

The timing of your arrival upon a situation where you can be of assistance.

The situation that you knew nothing about that seemingly called your name.

You can take a picture, lend a hand, offer yourself.  But no matter what the moment, what the situation, if you were called to be there for someone else, recognize it…do something about it.

 

I Find Myself Thinking

Here I go, thinking again.  I should know better but does that stop me?  No.  Never seems to.  Thoughts wander in and I allow them to take shape in my mind, moving about in the most private parts of my brain, interweaving with thoughts of what I have to do, what I should do, and how it’s all going to come together.

I wait for an interjection but no one says a word.  Quickly, loudly, the thoughts begin to fill every inch of space, taking with it all the air left in the room.  Pretty soon, I can’t think of anything else.  These thoughts have made my mind their home and I have not done a thing about it.  But what could I have done?  How could I have stopped them?  Is there any hope?

Ah! But yes there is!

Isaiah 26:3 says;

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."

In the midst of uncontrollable emotions and invading thoughts, what would happen if we turn our eyes elsewhere?  If we took our minds off of the things that have infiltrated our mind and set them on the only One who can give us peace.  A peace beyond all understanding topped with a breath of fresh air like we’ve never inhaled before.

I want you to stop for a moment.  Close your eyes and think of something peaceful — not a family member or a possession but maybe a place, a butterfly, a sound.  Fix yourself on that for a few moments, pushing all thoughts aside that are trying to creep in.  Imagine that you are stronger, you are energetic, you are happy, at peace and in a place where nothing can stand in your way.  Now pray like you haven’t in a long time.  Ask for peace beyond all understanding.  Ask for increased faith and trust in what is to come.  Ask that moments like these happen in the midst of the mayhem as much as the mundane.

Romans 12:2 reminds us that if we don’t conform to the pattern of this world, we might just be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  It goes on to say:

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You’re looking for answers but they haven’t been there.  You’re waiting for things to happen but you’re at a standstill.  You feel lost but oh how you wish to be found.  You can have that perfect peace if you choose the thoughts you think on…if you don’t bother with the things that are out of your control…if you let go and just give to God what you cannot handle.  This moment, right here, is how you find your peace again.

People

There are a lot of different categories in this world when it comes to people but today, I’m concentrating on two.  These two may have the absolute best intentions but can often be perceived quite differently than they would like to be.  It could be you or I any given day, but for some, these descriptions depict their lives; their lives that are so wrapped up in wanting to be a part of everyone else’s, that they come off arrogant or even a little creepy.  Good intentions or not, any one of us can be labeled according to our actions.  It doesn’t take much for someone to take notice of a behavior you have or had momentarily and assume your whole life revolves around nurturing that very behavior.  If we’re not careful the wrong impression can lead to mistrust, lost friendships, and mistaken identity that is hard to undo.

Let’s take the contentious talker for example.  You know the people.  They have to get into every conversation.  Their opinion, whether it’s the same or different than yours, always comes off as an argument.  They insert their thoughts and you instantly want to insert your fingers — into your eyes or ears, depending on where they’re sharing their opinion.  they’ve come to believe over many years of self-convincing that their opinion is FACT, when in all actuality, it will never be more than an opinion.  They seem to know so much about so many things that you wouldn’t dare argue because they might go as far as trying to find proof in order to prove you wrong…even though again, it’s only an opinion.  They’re loud, even in their written responses.  They antagonize, add things to the conversation that weren’t necessary and never seem to care if they were invited in or not.

This person, whether they have good intentions or not, always comes off in a negative light.  Many veer from their path while others who are more soft spoken tend to follow them.  To some they are arrogant to others they are all-knowing.  Those are the people they want to encourage.  They feed off of the people who tell them they’re right and they ALWAYS want the last word.  Whether valid or not, their point is always made but quite often, not understood.  They may not feel vicious but every ounce of their being goes into proving a point that need not be proven.

Then there’s the quiet stalker.  He/she follows along, unbeknownst to you, picking up on everything you’ve shared on social media, with friends in private conversations, or just out in public where you had no idea they were lurking.  Then one day their shyness turns into a narration of your life.  They seem to know everything about you and what you’ve been up to.  They ask you about your recent trips, your happenings and even try to console you when you’re down.  You don’t know them well at all and wonder if they’ve been reading your social media page or if they have a tent set up in your backyard throughout the night.   Same great intentions?  Possibly.  But their approach is that of an animal, stalking it’s prey.  What will they do next?  Have they found their “in” to your life?  You feel like you have to share with them every time you see them now.  They want to know how you are and get regular updates. What’s the status on this?  How about this?

In both cases, I’ve come to learn that these individuals are in need of friends.  They reach out in completely different ways for the very same thing.  One may know that their shyness and awkward approach keeps them from sustaining any real friendships, whereas the other doesn’t know that their callous approach has afforded them as far from the friendship spot as possible.  They feel like their opinions are valued but don’t understand that being on the same page isn’t necessarily the definition of friendship.

We can be friendly without being friends just as we can be friends while agreeing to disagree.   We will never be able to keep everyone up on everything or let each well-meaning person in on every aspect of our personal lives.  We don’t have to argue and we certainly don’t have to understand why people do what they do.  However, we do have one obligation when it comes to these two, different types of people and the thousand of other types that we see day in and day out.  Our job is a lot easier than we think but harder to understand so sometimes we fail at even trying.  We don’t have to put much effort forth or even give it a second thought on most occasions.

You see, our job is to love one another.  Despite the difficult personalities, the weirdness that makes us who we are, and the harshness that comes off.  We choose love and that, my friends, is what gets you through those not-so-pleasant interactions with folks that are just not like you or I.  We’re all different.  Even if it wasn’t one of these two that I’ve described, we’re all able to be put into a category of a “type”.  With the best of intentions we can come off as the worst of people.  Does it mean that we (or these folks we’re talking about) don’t need to make a few changes? No, they very well might need to adjust their approach a bit, but we cannot change them nor should we wish to.

The great Forrest Gump once shared advice from his Mama, “Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  You know what else Mama said? “You have to do the best with what God gave you.”

Whether you’re type A, B, C or Z, you are given something from someOne who knows you better than anyone .  This very same person knows each of those other people too — the ones you like, the ones you dislike, the ones you have no idea how you could like — and you know what He says about them?  I love them.  They’re my children.

No where in the Bible does it say we have to like everyone but Mark 12:31 says this,

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

This is one of the most important commandments along with loving God.

So what’s the difference?  Like is an emotion.  We can like someone who is similar to us or who we connect with.  But loving someone is a choice.  We make a decision to love.

I read an article about this very subject and this line was PERFECT to help us understand the difference: “It [love] doesn’t describe how I feel about you; it describes how I treat you. To love someone is to be loyal, devoted, courteous, kind, thoughtful, giving, and caring.”

As always, I’m not sure where this came from today but I know it’s meant for someone.  In fact, it could be for a few of you out there that are trying to grasp emotions you’re having about a certain someone that you will never quite get passed.  The good thing is, you don’t need to.  You make the choice to love through your differences as much as you will because of the similarities.  You will be you, the best you that God made you to be.  You won’t change others and they can’t change you.  So today as you get out into that world, how about you just do you?

Love you all!

 

 

Right On Time

I’m not the most punctual person.  I get it from my dad’s side of the family.  Most of them will admit it because, well, there’s no denying it when you’re always late.  My dad, on the other hand, would take it to the extremes some days.  Whether it was because he lost his keys, ran out of gas, or because he just got side-tracked, he always made it…eventually.

I vowed to myself that I would not run out of gas EVER and my plan is to stick to that.  Running out of gas more times that I can count as a kid and having to walk in not-so-good neighborhoods at night weren’t always the best memories.  However, I learned a thing or two in those times that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.

I learned how to trust my dad that everything was going to be okay.

I learned how to believe we would get there, even if it wasn’t “on time”.

I learned that the most important thing isn’t necessarily that you arrive at a specific time.

However, we’re led to believe that timing is everything.    I might agree with that if I understand whose timing we were talking about.  There’s always our timingyour timing, and everyone else who thinks they have a handle on the right time.

There are birthday parties, dinner dates, flights, movies and other activities that you can’t argue…have a specific time.  But what about the rest of the things that seem timely?  We’re given the idea that it doesn’t matter what it is but if we want it, we can get it now.  We see messages like:

“No money down!”

“0% Financing!”

“Buy now, pay later!”

The thought instantly comes to mind, if I want it I can have it.

It’s not always about things that cost us in paper money either.  There are things that can cost us in other ways if we choose to go for them when it isn’t the right time or in the right way.  There’s a time, a place, a purpose for each and every single thing we do.  We’ve come so used to getting what we want when we want it that we don’t have the patience to wait for anything anymore.

What does that say about our future?  Are we handling things in our own time to suit our desires verses waiting until a time that might just be best for us?  What if we took a step back from the situation, wrote down pros and cons, wants vs. needs and truly assessed if whatever it is, needs to happen now or is just something our minds are trying to convince us is a necessity when in all actuality, it’s a want that can wait until a better time?

Often, if we wait patiently, opportunities will present themselves in such a way that we can see our movement would have been detrimental to the overall outcome.  It doesn’t give us the best result when we push to have something that could have been so much better had we waited.

What about that house…
That car…
The job…
The perfect man/woman…

It can be about the little things just as much as it’s about the big things.  It all adds us to be a sort of timing that will never be our own.  This doesn’t mean we sit complacent, never making a move.  But it does mean listening to that still, small voice and the urging inside that tells you to wait when everything in your head is telling you to GO! GO! GO!

That yearning inside makes us feel like we won’t be able to handle waiting any longer, but I promise you friends, our heart can handle the wait if we get control of our mind.  We have to step out of certain situations or away from what keeps our mind thinking thoughts of want vs need.  But in some cases, we are to learn patience by remaining right where we are until the opportunity presents itself.  You don’t have to jump.  You don’t have to be the first.  And I promise you’ll never be the last.

There’s something out there for you.  It’s pulling you in a direction that may seem wonderful but not quite right.  There’s a timing that’s better.  It’s a timing that has withstood all the tests.  It’s proof that things happen for a reason, at a time, in a season.  It’s why you’re here reading this and why I was led to write it.

You see, this purpose, this plan, it’s something that has been laid out for you.  The good, the bad, the confusing, the sad.  Each and every experience is leading to something greater, something stronger, and something longer-lasting than anything you could muster up yourself.

Trust in this timing.  It’s God’s timing.  Have you truly given it to Him and asked Him to lead you?  Have you asked for His guidance or walked in His confidence?  It doesn’t have to be a life-changing event but I promise, even the small things can be if done at the wrong time.  Before you take that medicine, before you buy that couch, before you reach out…look up!  Ask God what He thinks.  Give it to God and watch Him work.  He’ll guide you if you allow Him too.

I don’t know who this was for.  I don’t even know where it came from, but you know what? God does.  And it was in His timing that you were able to see it! Now believe it!

Love you all!

The Rise and Fall of Social Media

Admit it, at least those of you who use social media, you have a love-hate relationship with it all.  The whole concept is great…I mean, you can stay in touch with people far away, share pictures with family and friends, make announcements to large masses of people, advertise your business, and now even sell things in an online garage sale-style type of forum.

But then there’s the other side of the coin.  When you flip it, you see what’s on the back.  What’s there are things you don’t have.  Places you haven’t been.  Experiences you’ve never had.  Some days, the back side just leaves you longing for more.

Why?

Because it’s only a natural reflex to see someone having a good time and wishing you had been there or that your family could do those things, be in that place, see what they saw.  We notice if we’ve missed an invite, missed an opportunity, or missed a chance at doing something on a day you ended up doing nothing at all.

Come on now.  I know I’m talking to someone!

Here’s the funny thing.  Those things you’re wishing for…you find yourself getting lost in…that you feel like you’ve missed out on…they’re not meant for you!  Harsh reality is, if they were, you’d be experiencing them instead of someone else!  Take a second to think of the things you have to be thankful for so far this year…

It doesn’t have to be a long vacation, a party or anything of the sorts.  What about your family? friends? church? Have you started school? Got a new job? Moved to a new home?

We have to learn to be content with what we have.  Learn to make memories out of the mundane.   Be happy for others without forming a jealous thought.

What it boils down to is something we see making way for a thought that we tend to think on.  We think on that for so long, in such a way that we start to daydream.  We hope, we wish, we long for things that just aren’t ours.  Philippians 4:8 says,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

We need to park our minds on things of this nature.  Things that we can be grateful for.  Reasons we’re blessed.  We need to park it there and stay there!  Those times will come when you see someone else having fun and you need to be happy for them.  Happy because they are enjoying their time but also happy because you’ve made your own memories too!

This past weekend, my family and I did a whole lot of nothing! My daughter went through her closet.  My husband practiced tying knots with extra rope he had since he was recovering from a back injury and needed to rest.  And I worked for many hours on my computer, preparing for a group I’m hosting in a couple months.  Those things seem a little boring but here’s the cool thing…

My daughter and I also went grocery shopping together.  It’s such a great time to catch up!  I took her and a friend on a little FREE morning trip downtown.  We BBQed twice! We woke up late, had a delicious breakfast, and even got in some time working out.  We watched movies together, went to church together and truly enjoyed just having a whole lot of nothing to do.

Yes, we missed out on some things.  Yes, we said no to a few.  We could’ve kept ourselves busy.  We could be upset because we weren’t invited by everyone to everything.  We could be nervous that this is life.  But guess what?  If it is life, then I think I’m quite happy with it!  I am blessed to have a home to live life in!  I am blessed to have a vehicle to take me to the park, or for a walk or out for the day.  I am blessed to have the opportunity make my own memories and do things my way.

You see, the rise and fall of social media isn’t that it’s going away.  It’s that it’s causing our emotions to do things that we shouldn’t allow it to do.  If you’re find yourself grazing for infinite amounts of time, or feeling down instead of happy for others, or just noticing a change in your mood once you dive in, then it’s time to bow out.  Not forever, unless that’s what you determine is best, but just for awhile.  Just until you can recount your blessings.

I know I’ve said this time and time again but here me folks — you CAN control the thoughts you think on.  You may not be able to control how they get into your mind but you can choose whether or not they stay there.

So it’s Monday.  Maybe you have to work, maybe you don’t.  Maybe you’re on vacation, maybe you’re not.  Maybe your situation isn’t so bright, maybe, just maybe…it’s how you look at it.

Choose your kind of happy today!

Come To A Complete Stop

When you hear those 5 words, what do you think of? A stop sign, right? Maybe those of you teaching your teenager to drive are specifying what they should say or do to know how long is long enough to stop.
 
As adults, most of us don’t practice what we preach in that scenario. Coming to a complete stop has meant pulling up to the stop sign, looking both ways quickly while we gently roll through it. We’ve made our own definition of stopping and, so far, it’s worked quite well.
 
What if traffic was going so fast in the opposite direction and the stop sign only pertained to the way you were headed? You couldn’t just work your way into traffic going full speed in the opposite direction. Considering your limited number of options, you’re forced to stop.
 
Now let’s talk about life. How fast have you been going? Are you noticing what’s going on around you? Who needs what? Where are you headed? Do you even have a clear direction? Are you going so fast that you don’t even know yesterday from the last?
 
We’ve all done this. Some of you have been here before, others are there now. You’ve begun to roll through the signs telling you to STOP. Signs such as exhaustion, weight gain/loss, irritability, lack of sleep, lack of or over abundance of emotion, forgetfulness, sickness, and the list goes on and on. There are signs everywhere, telling us to slow down but eventually, we will come to a crossroad where we must stop.
 
Hear me out on this one folks…
 
There are some times that we need someone to tell us to STOP. We need to heed their advice for our safety as well as others out there on the road. If we’re not careful, we could injure ourselves or others along the way. Unintentionally, by not giving ourselves any time to stop, we are making the road more difficult to travel than it should be. Just because we ignore the stop signs, doesn’t mean we’re going to get there any faster — or at all if we keep up the pace we’re going.
 
Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God;"
 
It’s a verse we can use in so many different ways but in this case, we need to stop and really hear those words.
 
Stop worrying if everyone has everything.
 
Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
 
Stop trying to be everywhere at the same time.
 
Stop trying to do everything.
 
Stop trying to be a part of everything that’s going on.
 
Stop worrying if you have enough and just know that you ARE enough!
 
God didn’t put you here on this earth to run yourself ragged. He didn’t intend for your purpose to be, “work yourself to death.” He also didn’t decide that you were the one that was going to do all of the things that could easily be done by several people. Look around. Do you enjoy what you see? Are you taking the time to truly enjoy what you see?
 
Take a look at this picture. My love for cows is the reason we came to a complete stop to take this photo. I love the warning that here, at this very spot, cows may be crossing. It’s a warning to all the drivers on this dirt road that they might just need to stop. Of all the things in the world, God cares about us so much that he gives warnings for us too. Sometimes he gives them to family, friends or coworkers to share with us and sometimes He just gives them to us. Often times, we have both but still fail to listen. That’s when we’re forced to stop.
 
Back to the picture. Take a look around at the scenery. What once was a beautiful ranch became a burnt mess back in October when a fire ravaged the area. I don’t know about you, but that is cause enough for me to stop immediately.
 
Some of you are there. The fire is roaring, you are forced to stop moving, and you just don’t know what to do next.
 
Read the scripture again: “Be still, and know that I am God;”
 
No one is going to get the best parts of you if you aren’t coming to a complete stop. You can’t give everything and think you’ll have something left. Your family will suffer, friendships, your job, your ministries and finally — you.
 
Don’t let that fire have a chance to start in your life.
 
Don’t miss all the warnings and continue to speed through life.
 
Don’t wish you hadn’t waited so long.
 
Life is too short and if you go too fast, you’ll miss it entirely.
 
I know this is for someone today. I’ll be praying for you. Love you all.

User Error

Do you realize that typically, we are the ones who set our own limitations? I say typically because there are certain physical limitations we cannot change and rules we must abide by but otherwise, we set our expectations high but often lower our limitations.
 
Why do you think that is? Low self-esteem? Lack of confidence? Situational setbacks? Those may all be true but for the most part, we have a tendency to be so proud of others for their accomplishments while verbalizing that we could never do that.
 
My question is, why not? If the opportunity is there, other than time and hard work, what is holding you back from going after whatever it is? If we are given a chance just by being who we are then who are we to hold ourselves back?
 
I understand stepping out of your comfort zone might be a little scary and setting the bar high for yourself often demanding, but if you can expect more out of others why not do the same for yourself?
 
Imagine you’re sitting there, wishing you could do something that you’ve never done — run a mile, do 20 push-ups, write a book, lead a group, meet new people, go for a promotion — and the list goes on and on. So you’re sitting there, thinking, wishing but never really believing in yourself enough to take that chance and do what you want to do.
 
I’m calling this your “User Error”.
 
Typically, you have a few tries before being locked out in situations like this, but fortunately and unfortunately for you, your opportunities are endless. You can want and wish for things for a long time and just never try. You are given chances time and time again, doors opening and closing before your eyes, little reminders of the dream you have, little nudges of movement but no actual push of the forward motion.
 
Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
 
If I adopt that scripture into my mind and believe it to be true, I know I have enough to at least try with all my might to get to where I want to go. I may not be there tomorrow. I may find out that what was at the end of the tunnel wasn’t for me. It may take a little longer than I would have wanted. But if I’m believing that God has given me all I need to be successful at all I’m called to be then I truly am the only thing holding myself back.
 
I don’t know who this message is for today, but I felt these words very strongly on my heart. I’m believing that soon, you will feel empowered. You will start to align yourself with the right people, the right sights and sounds, to just make that next step…then another…and another…until that limitation no longer exists. If you’ve used up all your “User Errors” simply because you’re afraid, now’s the time to try again.
 
Photo Credit: Aubrey Marie, Mexico 2016